A tenth of a second of wave action at Point Bunbury

Point Bunbury separates Apollo Bay and Mounts Bay.  It points ESE but has a south facing beach and an irregular shaped reef along its shore.  It is exposed to swell from the south and south west.  I find it a useful vantage point to assess the real size of a swell in the Apollo Bay area – presenting as it does in one view Little Henty Reef, Henty Reef and the raw swell breaking over the reef at Point Bunbury itself.  The swell which makes it around the point, past the harbour and into the relatively protected southern end of the beach at Apollo Bay is considerably scaled down from that which breaks at Point Bunbury.  It can be a mistake to judge conditions in the bay alone without any idea of what is happening on the seaward side of Point Bunbury.

Maybe these photos have more appeal for me than they do for a reader of this blog,  because I was there when they were taken.  I heard the rising swell pounding the shore the night before.  I looked towards the sea down my street and saw the expected ruler straight lines of green swell marching in parallel lines towards Tuxion beach as a westerly blew steadily against my back.  I stood in the car park there and watched a few biggish sets come through, with a reasonable wait and deceptively calm water in between.  The larger waves hit the outer sandbar and stood straight up, translucent green with the backlighting of the morning sun, and with patches of swirling sand  presented momentarily for inspection in the transparent wave face.  They were closing out over a thousand metres or more.  I drove up to Point Bunbury and saw the real swell crashing over the reef, with the moody lumpy waters of Henty Reef visible on the horizon, and a solid swell breaking over Little Henty.

I enjoyed the show for an hour or so, taking photos from time to time.  I have seen bigger swells at this location (see my earlier post, ‘The Henty Firing in a big Swell’), but today’s swell was sufficient to create the variety of wave forms which never fails to mesmerise me.  So the images below trigger strong recollection in me.  I hope you find them interesting to view and to contemplate purely as images.

The sum of the exposure times of the 25 wave photos below is less than a tenth of a second, so even after examining these photos you will have missed most of the show.  But not all of it.

The trusty Nikon D810 pointing towards outer Henty Reef.

As I watched set after set roll in at Point Bunbury, I did not feel the experience to be diminished in any sense by the lack of narration or commentary on what I was seeing.  In fact words were entirely unnecessary, just as they are now should you proceed to cast your eyes over the following 26 images.  I hope you enjoy them.  As always with photos on my blog, they are best viewed on the largest screen you have (provided it’s bigger than an iPhone).

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I couldn’t resist inserting this photo (taken in June 2017) of a considerably bigger swell at Point Bunbury.  It shows a developed version of the ‘tunnel’ in the breaking wave, which was present on the smaller swell in the immediately preceding photo, taken at the same spot.  Is there a channel under the water which explains the late breaking of the wave in light and heavy surf in this tiny section of the wave, creating the ‘tunnel’ appearance?

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